Two drown in disused quarry in Co Down

Man died trying to rescue teenage boy who also drowned


A man died trying in vain to rescue a teenager who had been swimming at a disused quarry in Co Down at the weekend.

Colin Polland (39), who is from the area but living in England, attempted to rescue Kevin O’Hare (15) who had got into difficulties while swimming at the quarry close to the seaside village of Annalong, Co Down, according to police and local sources.

He jumped into the water but he too got into trouble and both he and Kevin, who is from the Dromara area of Co Down, drowned before rescuers could arrive.

The tragedy happened late on Saturday afternoon at Paul’s Quarry.

A friend of Kevin ran for help while Mr Polland tried to assist the teenager in the waters of the steep-sided granite quarry.

It is understood that Mr Polland had recently bought a cottage in the area to serve as a holiday home.

Police divers and fire crews arrived on the scene to recover the bodies from the water which is a popular swimming spot with young people on warm summer days.

The PSNI said the drownings were being investigated and that postmortem examinations would be conducted in due course.

South Down DUP Assembly member Jim Wells said there must be a full investigation into the accident. “We need to improve safety in these sort of situations.”

Offering his condolences to the families of the two victims he added: “This area has suffered many tragedies over the last number of years and this is another dreadful event that will shock the entire community.”

Sinn Féin Assembly member Chris Hazzard said the entire community was in shock at the double tragedy.

“I would urge young people not to be tempted to swim in unauthorised pools of water as there are many dangers as [this] tragedy has shown,” he said.

The South Down SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie said the local community was devastated by the deaths.

“My heartfelt sympathy and that of all the people goes out to the families, friends and relatives of the two men who lost their lives in such tragic circumstances in a disused quarry at the bottom of Spence Mountain in the Mournes.”

Local Alliance councillor Patrick Clarke expressed his deep sadness at the deaths. “There is a deep sense of loss and shock in the local community. I would like to commend the efforts of the PSNI divers, the Fire and Rescue Service, and the coastguard who were involved in trying to rescue both men.

“This is an awful tragedy and my heartfelt sympathies go out to the families of Kevin O’Hare and Colin Polland.”